For a lot of firms, the primary focus right now has been on how to overcome supply chain and distribution challenges in getting existing products to existing customers. This has chiefly been accomplished by altering existing products and services so that they can be consumed either via digital channels or contactless methods. Prime examples of this are gyms shifting to online streaming, restaurants offering contactless delivery or collection and event organisers running conferences via video conferencing.
While important in helping to keep the lights on in the immediate term, solely relying on changes to distribution channels is not going to cut it in providing long-term value for customers. The key reason for this is the social and emotional fulfilment we often seek out when using or buying something. And so, by focusing purely on the functional job to be done we neglect the social and emotional value that does not translate well when switching to contactless services or digital channels. Therefore, in this next phase of recovery, we all need to think beyond switching up the distribution channel if we want to build sustaining products, services and businesses.
This is a time to be creative in how we connect and serve our customers. With this comes the opportunity to deepen relationships, address new customer groups, embrace new technology and think of entirely new ways to create value.
In our call to action for ‘switching it up’ we have focused on five key areas that can help us all to rethink how we identify potential opportunities for creating value in different ways during these uncertain times and beyond:
- Customer need: Are we solving the right need for the right people?
- Partnerships: Who can we collaborate with to deliver a better product or service?
- Go to market: How can our customers best access, consume and experience our products and services?
- Experience: How can we create a memorable and engaging experience around our products and services despite the mode of consumption changing?
- Higher purpose: How can we contribute to the local, national, and global response effort?